A Personal Journey

A personal journey to V4L

Paul Snell
At the end of November 2005, I was invited to be a part of a small group of people from the URC representing a wide range of theological positions. We met at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire for a 2 day consultation on the theme of "Evangelism and Spirituality in the URC".

Facilitated by the Life and Witness Committee of the URC and GEAR (Group for Evangelism And Renewal), the meeting was an initial part of the next stage of Catch The Vision (CTV). Much of the structural change part of CTV was already in process and the church generally was itching to get to the heart of what CTV was originally about-a transformation of the heart of the church to make it equipped and relevant in a society that had lost confidence in the church in the West, and yet was interested in pursuing spirituality in a variety of ways.

That meeting began a process which enabled us to open up to each other in different ways as we learnt to appreciate different theological stances and to be willing to listen to how God was speaking to us and using us in different contexts and diverse ways of worshipping and working together in our church communities. We were always open and straightforward, even in tackling thorny issues such as human sexuality, yet keen to hear the Spirit in each other and desiring to operate in grace rather than retreat into theological ghettos.

At our second meeting together we drew together the strands of previous discussions and eventually came to a dream! I can't remember exactly how we got there-which probably says something about the unity of vision we shared-but we dreamt of a 3 year period in the life of our church that would transform its heart through an emphasis in worship, preaching and teaching, home groups, and many other ways on the three themes of

Engaging again with the Bible

Rediscovering the power and value of Prayer

Finding confidence in Evangelism

The underlying theme was one of storytelling and the need for us to learn to share our stories with each other and the world. We went away from the meeting inspired and challenged-excited about the possibility that this just might be a way forward for the whole church. Could it be that we had hit on a way through the  issues which face the URC? Would the sense of "it seemed right to the Holy Spirit and us" catch on throughout our denomination?

One of our group is Revd. Dr. John Campbell, principal of Northern College in Manchester, and as we drew that meeting to a close he mentioned that he had some months of sabbatical set aside in 2007 and would be willing to give considerable time to researching and formulating the beginnings of material and resources for such a plan. And so the beginnings of what was to become known as Vision4 Life were set in place.

The result so far is that we agreed a name and logo, and have devised a programme which begins with an introductory period on into the summer of 2008. Churches will then be asked to "sign up" through use of 4 sets of material for use in worship, church and elders meetings or house groups next summer. The main programme will begin with a focus on the bible from Advent 2008. The following year we will focus on prayer, and in 2010 we will look at material on evangelism.

That seems a long way away, but there is a real feeling that this is not just some flash in the pan programme. Indeed we are seeing this more as a 'process' than a programme. The V4L team's vision is to see a radical transformation of the church-hence the strap-line in the logo. If we are to become relevant to the society in which we are set, it will take more than a programme. Hearts need to be changed-lives transformed-habits altered-vision encouraged. The plan is not to offer proscriptive materials, but a set of resources that local churches can use and adapt to suit their own context. For some they will want to simply use the materials which the team and others will produce. But for many they will already be focusing on these themes as part and parcel of who they are. We want to learn from each other and share ideas. In short, we want to see the URC excited again by the God who loves us and confident about the faith we share.

So do you have a Vision for life? 2008 will be the chance to embark on this radical step forward in company with tens of thousands of others around the country. I hope you are going to join in!

Paul Snell                    [803 words]

Note to Magazine editors and publicity people in churches -
Please feel free to 'clip' the Vision4Life LOGO from the top of the Vision4Life fact sheet 1 to use in your magazine or wherever else you are presenting Vision4Life in your local setting.

  37 Hits
  0 Comments
37 Hits
0 Comments

THINK

Theological resources

These are background papers and not intended to be used as group work as they are but for filling in some of the concepts and ideas people might want to think about or explore further during evangelism year. Some of the documents come in their original form and many will be written especially for Vision4Life.

  

A Theological Introduction to the Evangelism Year

This is a presentation written by Francis Brienen  for Eastern Synod ministers and offered for use by others. There is a text document and a Powerpoint. The text is written only in note form and is useful as a starting point for your own presentation.

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.pdf

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.doc

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.ppt

 

Conversion

This article takes an in depth look at the nature of conversion and seeks to undermine the misconceptions often associated with the subject.Download Think-Conversion.pdf

 

Community Work and Evangelism

This series of articles by Steve Summers provides various resources from publications, tools for community work, a study for a small group and information about Assets for Life. It is worth taking a look at the rich and useful resources here.There is an introductory article by Janet Lees under the INSPIRE section

V4LE CRCW 1 - Assets for Life intro

Continue reading
  29 Hits
  0 Comments
29 Hits
0 Comments

SEASONS - Pentecost and Summer

Eagle Day

This item gives an idea for a day using birds of pray to stimulate thinking about Isaiah 40:31Download eagle day.pdf

 

Dinosaur Sunday

This provides some ideas for Dinosaur Sunday, also called Evolution Sunday. This can happen at any time of the year, but is usually associated with the Sunday nearest Charles Darwin’s birthday: 12thFebruary. You might want to do this event this summer or you might want to ‘think ahead’ and plan for next February (2012) in which case best start now!

Download Dinosaur Sunday.pdf

Photos of Dinosaur Sunday

 

Holiday Evangelism

This document contains ideas, information and stories about how churches in holiday areas might reach out to visitors.Download Holiday Evangelism.pdf

 

Meditation for Summer

Here is a meditation on Matthew 14:22-33 that you might like to use at a summer event.Download meditation for summer.pdf

 

Pentecost Prayer Stations

Here is another of Dave Croaker's Prayer Stations, this time designed for Pentecost. There is a set up file and also a booklet for participants.

Download Prayer Stations Pentecost - setup.pdf

Download Prayer Stations Pentecost.pdf

  33 Hits
  0 Comments
33 Hits
0 Comments

SEASONS - Lent & Easter

 
Seasonal Resources
These resources will be especially linked with the current season to stimulate evangelistic activity linked with some of our greatest opportunities to share the gospel and reach out to our communities.

  
  

Ideas for Lent

Lent can be a good time for sharing our faith story as it plays an important part in our life together. Here are a few ideasDownload ideas for Lent.pdf
Darwen Church Partnership have produced a Lent course which is available on line at this linkhttp://www.churchpartnership.org.uk/lentcourse.html 

 

Lent Calendar

ROOTS for Churches are following on from the successful Advent calendar with a new Lent Calendar for 2011. This can be used by all ages and offers a simple reflection or activity for each day of Lent.Follow this link to download a PDF in colour or in black and white: 
http://www.rootsontheweb.com/Lectionary/52March-April/Lentcalendar
ROOTS publishes ecumenical, lectionary-based worship resources in two bi-monthly magazines: ROOTS Adult & All Age and ROOTS Children & Young People, plus a supporting websitewww.rootsontheweb.com

 

Youth and school assembly ideas for Lent

Maybe you are planning a School Assembly or piece of Youth work in Lent. Here are some things you might find useful – written from a school context for young people aged 11-18.Download lent assemblies.pdf

 

Telling Tales

In the pages of this booklet, you will find stories from the bible—some more familiar than others—re-told from a specific perspective, conveying refreshing insight and instigating reflection. 
Each contributor brings their own style, showing unique creativity, a great depth of understanding, and a renewed way of looking at faith.

This re-telling of tales will both challenge pre-conceived ideas and confirm deeply held beliefs. We hope that God will speak to you through these stories and that they will inspire you into further exploration of your own.

Contributions from: Jan Berry, Sarah Brewerton, Alma Fritchley, Alan Gaunt, Lyn Gallimore, Stewart Graham, Michelle Haller, Sue Rowe & Sue Shaw.

Download Telling_Tales.pdf

 

Ideas for Easter

Easter can be a good time for sharing our faith story as it plays an important part in our life together.  These ideas and thoughts have been generated by a group of 16 -18 years olds at Silcoates School, but could be used with people of all ages.Download ideas for Easter.pdf 
Full size versions of the images below are available by clicking the image.

 

Easter Ideas Powerpoint

Here are some ideas for Easter Evangelism in a powerpoint fileDownload Easter ideas Powerpoint.ppt

 

Re-inhabiting the Easter Story

Here are a series of scripts and suggestions for an evening exploration of the Easter story on the premises of a local church.Download reinhabiting the Easter story.pdf

 

Easter Kennings

Here is some material based on Kennings for Easter in Evangelism Year – or next year if you need to ‘think ahead’.Download Easter Kennings.pdf

 

Hope Together

HOPE together website is worth having a look at: www.hopetogether.org.uk 
They are promoting events to do at Easter 2011 and a booklet of ideas has been published, priced at £4.99.

Take a look here.

Andrew Willett has produced a background paper about HOPE together.

Download HOPE together.pdf

 

Film for Lent - Pay it Forward

In another of Colin Udall's studies using film, he makes use of "Pay it Forward" to look at different aspects of the way we should live our Christian lives, from the teachings of Jesus and parts of the Old Testament. This study is highlighted as suitable for Lent but could be used at any time.Download pay it forward.pdf

 


  37 Hits
  0 Comments
37 Hits
0 Comments

SEASONS - Advent & Christmas

Seasonal Resources

These resources will be especially linked with the current season to stimulate evangelistic activity linked with some of our greatest opportunities to share the gospel and reach out to our communities.

  
  
Thinking ahead about...

Lots of tried and tested ideas for imaginative services, readings, activities and creative ways to encourage deeper thinking about what Advent and Christmas really mean in 21st Century came out of Eastern Synod’s series of Thinking ahead about...events – and they have kindly shared the materials with us.

You can download pdfs from this link, http://www.nwsynod.org.uk/index.php/2011/09/22/thinking-ahead-about-advent-and-christmas/

From today's news

This piece puts the well known story of the Nativity into a contemporary context.

Continue reading
  46 Hits
  0 Comments
46 Hits
0 Comments

Dinosaur Sunday Photos

No images were found
  24 Hits
  0 Comments
24 Hits
0 Comments

SEASONS - Autumn

Here is a selection of resources to help you plan for Autumn evangelistic activities.

Ideas for Autumn

Here are a number of ideas to help you with evangelistic activities this autumn ranging from Harvest to Halloween, All Saints and Advent. The second document is a poster used by Shanklin URC to advertise their Advent Cafe project.Download V4L Evangelism Year autumn-1.pdf Download Cafe Adventure poster11.pdf
  34 Hits
  0 Comments
34 Hits
0 Comments

OFFER

These resources are for use in worship
 
 

Songs of Committment and Affirmation

In this list, Ray Adams has compiled a selection of songs suitable for use at times of commitment and affirmation of faith

 

All are welcome

This is a short act of worship on the theme ‘All are welcome’. It is suitable for a small group or an informal time of worship for a larger group.

 

Charter for Evangelism with Bible links

This item could be used in worship planning with suggested bible passages linked with the Charter for Evangelism.
  31 Hits
  0 Comments
31 Hits
0 Comments

INSPIRE

 
Resources for Motivation and Teaching
These resources are designed to inspire and stimulate you into evangelism.

The "E Word" can be frightening to some and exciting to others. We hope these resources will dispel some of the misconceptions and enlarge your thinking about what evangelism is and how it fits into the life of your church and your personal witness.

Exploring Evangelism - a taster session

This powerpoint presentation offered by John Hall is designed for s synod meeting and to be interactive, around tables. It also gives tasters of different parts of the booklet.Download ExploringEvangelismTaster.pptDownload ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.pdfDownload ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.doc
 
Telling our story

Telling our story introduction

Here are some introductory ideas for your to try as a group or in pairs to help you begin to tell ‘our story’ as a faith community. You can also think about this material on your own, perhaps making some notes in a notebook or journal to help you.Download telling our story intro.pdf

Story telling based on Mark 10:46-52

One of the themes of our Vision4Life Evangelism Year is Telling God’s story, telling our story. This piece of story telling is based on Psalm 34:1-8 and Mark 10:46-52.Download KT story telling.pdf

 

The good man Jesus - material for a book club or reflective reading

This material presents a way of using the book ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’  by Philip Pullman (2010: Canongate) in a book group or discussion group, although if you have read the book on your own you might also find these materials helpful for reflection.Download the good man Jesus.pdf

 

The life of Peter

This interactive Bible study is based on the life of Peter. It requires the main study document as well as all the separate group exercise sheets indicated for download on the right.Download life of Peter.pdfDownload Gp exercise 1 - refs re Peter.pdfDownload Gp exercise 2 - Peters employer.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - recruitment agency.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - film director.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - dating agency.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - careers adviser.pdf

 

The life of Andrew

This interactive bible study is for small groups based on the life of Andrew.Download life of Andrew.pdf

 

Stories of unfinished evangelism

A series of unfinished and open-ended stories about evangelism to help us think about how our story and God’s story work together.Download stories of unfinished evangelism.pdf

 

Film for Lent - Pay it Forward

In another of Colin Udall's studies using film, he makes use of "Pay it Forward" to look at different aspects of the way we should live our Christian lives, from the teachings of Jesus and parts of the Old Testament. This study is highlighted as suitable for Lent but could be used at any time.Download pay it forward.pdf
Telling God's Story

 

Bible Study on Acts 8:26-40

This is a Bible study for small groups based on Acts 8:26-40. It is a fuller version of the bible study on pages 35-39 of the Exploring Evangelism booklet (which had to be edited for reasons of space).Download Acts bible study.pdf

 

Re-inhabiting the Easter Story

Here are a series of scripts and suggestions for an evening exploration of the Easter story on the premises of a local church.Download reinhabiting the Easter story.pdf

 

Community Work and Evangelism

This provides some ways of starting discussions about how Evangelism can be linked to community work in our churches and communities.A series of resource articles by Steve Summers are also under the THINK sectionDownload community work and evangelism.pdf
  33 Hits
  0 Comments
33 Hits
0 Comments

HELP

This page has a number of links to resources and programmes which are not directly organised by Vision4Life or the URC, but which the URC may have input and connections or which local URCs have successfully used in their evangelistic activities.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading
  72 Hits
  0 Comments
72 Hits
0 Comments

DO

In this section there will be ideas and helps to enable churches to act and actually do something. They might be materials to aid us in evangelism, ideas to stimulate us, or examples of what other churches do.

 

 

 

How to help someone make a (further) commitment to Christ

Some notes to help you think through how you will accompany a friend as they take the next step closer to God.Download How to help ... commitment.pdf

 

Things that churches do

This is a series of documents relating to things that other churches do evangelistically, designed to inspire us towards similar activities.

Messy Church - This is one church's experience of doing Messy Church, an imaginative way to encourage children and parents to get to church for whom normal Sunday worship may be difficult. You can download the article to the right and also link to the Messy Church website here http://www.messychurch.org.ukDownload ThingsChurchesDo_MessyChurch.pdf
Alpha - gives an example of one night at an Alpha courseDownload ThingsChDo_Alpha.pdf
HOTS - Healing On The StreetsDownload ThingsChDo_HOTS.pdf
Back to Church Sunday is now the largest single local-church invitational initiative in the world. It is based on the simplest and shortest step in evangelism - that we should invite someone we already know to something we love; invite our friend to our church.Download back2church sunday.pdf
bags4lifeThis document tells you about one churches’ development an Eco-congregation that has had an effect on their town and their opportunities for evangelism. You might like to try something similar.  Download bags4life.pdf
  36 Hits
  0 Comments
36 Hits
0 Comments

Acting out Acts

Post Vision4Life materialsWe have produced a brand new set of materials for churches wanting to follow up on Vision4Life. Based on the book of Acts, “Acting out Acts” uses study notes and Bibliodrama to look at themes which include some review of the V4L process. There are 5 studies and an introduction to the themes and Bibliodrama.

Download the materials by clicking the links below

Acting out Acts introductionActing out Acts session 1 - Acts 2 v3 - Recapping the story

Acting out Acts session 2 - Acts 4 v3 - Developing confidence

Acting out Acts session 3 - Acts 10 v3 - Bringing different perspectives together

Continue reading
  28 Hits
  0 Comments
28 Hits
0 Comments

Evangelism

Welcome to the Evangelism Year of Vision4Life, the third of three years that we hope will start to transform the United Reformed Church, and our partners, for mission. We began with the Bible Year, and continued with prayer year. Re-engaging with the Bible and prayer have not stopped, but equip us for evangelism as we discover fresh ways of sharing God’s story with our friends and neighbourhoods..

The Evangelism Year is the final year of a complete process. Some churches may want to simply jump into this year without covering the first two years. Can we encourage you to cover the main studies for the first two years and enter into the whole process before you do. Whilst it is easy for some to put evangelism on the back burner saying we are not ready yet, others may miss out on some of the important areas of thinking that have developed through the Vision4Life process if the bible and prayer are neglected. So even if you want to cover the materials more quickly than a whole year for each, please enter into the whole process and discover what God has to say to you as you develop your own thinking and progress towards evangelism.



Teaching & Motivational ResourcesGetting on with itTheological Reflections
Worship ResourcesAdditional Resources & LinksSeasonal Materials

Here is a document with a few ideas from churches that could be used as a link to the evangelism year.Download PtoE - moving on ideas.pdf here
A Theological Introduction to the Evangelism YearThis is a presentation written by Francis Brienen  for Eastern Synod ministers and offered for use by others. There is a text document and a Powerpoint. The text is written only in note form and is useful as a starting point for your own presentation.Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.pdfDownload theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.docDownload theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.ppt
Exploring Evangelism - a taster sessionThis powerpoint presentation offered by John Hall is designed for s synod meeting and to be interactive, around tables. It also gives tasters of different parts of the booklet.Download ExploringEvangelismTaster.pptDownload ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.pdfDownload ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.doc
Don't let the sun go downA prayer with picture by Heather WhyteDownload Dont let the sun go down... with picture.pdf
Advent Prayer Stations - Gospel Beginnings

These prayer stations have been produced by Dave Coaker, minister at Leyland and Penwortham, and provide a useful link between Prayer and Evangelism Years. There is a document for the text and another for setting up.Download Prayer Stations Gospel beginnings.pdfDownload Prayer Stations Gospel beginnings - setup.pdf

You can access many of the resources by clicking the links above or using the top menu drop down options

Audio Versions - NEW

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering audio versions of the Exploring Evangelism booklet. Click here to go to the download page.

  47 Hits
  0 Comments
47 Hits
0 Comments

Seasons - Summer



Here are a number of resources specially suited to summer, but could be used anytime.

Awareness Trails

This document describes Awareness Trails as an opportunity for prayer and reflection in your local context and gives an example from one in Suffolk.

Download awareness trails.pdf
View an on line video to go with this awareness trail here

Football themed Camp

This provides some ideas for those taking part in summer camps who are looking for material with a football theme.

Download football theme for a camp.pdf

Seeking Sanctuary

Some ideas for praying with and for those who have come to Britain to seek sanctuary.

Download seeking sanctuary.pdf
This material can also be found at the EQUIP website where you can explore more about this issue www.equipnetwork.org.uk

Just Breathing

Explores the themes of breathing and relaxation in prayer.

Download summer just breathing.pdf

Pathway of peace

This provides some reflective bible based meditations on the theme of ‘walking in God’s ways of peace’ for individual use. It can also be used with small groups.

Download Summer pathway of peace.pdf

Pilgrimage

Discusses the opportunities for making pilgrimage as part of our faith journey.

Download summer pilgrimage.pdf

Prayer Labyrinth

Explore praying with labyrinths.

Download Summer prayer labyrinth.pdf

Prayers on the move

This material aims to provide some suggestions for praying on the move; places you can go to, people you might meet, situations you can explore, with prayer.

Download Summer prayer on the move.pdf

Prayers for healing

To open up more of ourselves and our situations to the healing presence of God.

Download summer prayers for healing.pdf

A service of healing

This is a service of prayer for healing which can be adapted it to your local situation.

Download Summer service for healing.pdf

Step out of the box

A simple sketch for two people exploring the challenge of stepping away from those things that restrict or burden us.

Download summer step out of the box.pdf
  26 Hits
  0 Comments
26 Hits
0 Comments

Home

Vision4Life is a process which the United Reformed Church followed for 3 years from Advent 2008 through to Advent 2011. It is three years of focus on re-engaging with the Bible, Prayer and Evangelism with the purpose of bringing transformation to the URC and its partner churches. The resources for the process are now archived here for churches and individuals to freely use. A fourth introductory year was also followed by many churches and that year's materials are also here with introductions to each year's theme along with a booklet to challenge churches to take a further step forward into the whole process.

Take a look through the contents of the site using the menu at the top or select items from the menu to the right. You can also access each year through the panels below. This site is now static and there will be no further additional materials. We have also closed the signup process. Enjoy the site!



INTRODUCTORY YEARBIBLE YEAR
PRAYER YEAREVANGELISM YEAR

 You can access many of the resources by clicking the links above or using the top menu drop down options.

  22 Hits
  0 Comments
22 Hits
0 Comments

Evangelism Year Menu

The selections below will take you direct to the downloadable resources but it is recommended that you first visit the Evangelism Year pages using the main menu above or by clicking the images to find summaries of each resource and links to additional items needed for some of the resources 
SEASONS - Autumn
 Ideas for Autumn
 Thinking ahead about Advent & Christmas (link to NW Synod)
 
INSPIRE
Exploring Evangelism Taster powerpoint
Exploring Evangelism Taster Script
Telling our story introduction
Story telling based on Mark 10:46-52
The good man Jesus
Life of Peter - There are further files to go with this item
Life of Andrew
Stories of unfinished evangelism
Acts bible study
Community Work and Evangelism intro article
DO
How to help someone make a commitment
Things Churches Do -_Messy Church
Things Churches Do - Alpha
Things Churches Do - Healing On The Streets
Back to Church Sunday
bags4life
THINK
Theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year
Conversion
Community Work and Evangelism - resource articles
 Ethics of Evangelism - review
OFFER
Songs of committment and affirmation
All are welcome
Bible links for Charter for Evangelism
HELP

An increasing selection of links and other resources produced by other organisations are available on the Help page. Including TLS Gateways to Evangelism - GEAR Evangelism and Renewal Advocates - Not Ashamed - Hope Together - Just 10 - Back to Church Sunday - Mission Enabled - Internet Evangelism Day - Talking of God.
Click the Help heading to take a look.

  30 Hits
  0 Comments
30 Hits
0 Comments

Exploring Evangelism Audio Files

Click the links below to download the audio files of the Exploring Evangelism booklet. The files are sessions of the booklet and the largest file size is around 17 Mb. You should only attempt to download with a broadband connection. We are sorry but we are unable to supply these files other than from this website in MP3 download format.

Pages 1-8 - Cover, contents & IntroductionDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism001.mp3
Pages 9-16 Session 1 - Getting startedDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism002.mp3
Pages 17-24 Session 2 - Making relationshipsDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism003.mp3
Pages 25-29 Session 3 - Following JesusDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism004.mp3
Pages 31-40 Session 4 - Making a commitmentDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism005.mp3
Pages 41-48 Session 5 - Getting on with itDownload URC - Exploring Evangelism006.mp3

  36 Hits
  0 Comments
36 Hits
0 Comments

Forum

  25 Hits
  0 Comments
25 Hits
0 Comments